Camp: A Healthy Summer Choice
According to the American Camp Association® (ACA), camps today are committed to good nutrition, proper exercise, and the importance of developing healthy habits. Some of the many ways that camps can help children, youth, and adults include:
- Healthy Nutrition — Camps are making concentrated efforts to include healthy choices in menus. Over two-thirds of camps accredited by the American Camp Association® (ACA) say that they've started serving more fruits and vegetables. About four in ten have explicitly reduced the use of fried foods and sweets or sugary foods. Camps are working to prepare food in healthier ways as well. In addition, today’s camps are much more aware of food allergies and special diets.
- Education —Some camps are offering specific programs to teach healthier ways of eating. Camps may even offer family programs on health and nutrition.
- Physical Activity — Camp is specifically designed to get children and youth to unplug and get moving. Activities such as swimming, tennis, horseback riding, field sports, and hiking are excellent exercise disguised as fun. According to ACA research over 60 percent of parents reported that their children continued to participate in activities they learned at camp after they returned home.
- Illness and Injury prevention — During the summer of 2009, H1N1 Influenza was a major concern. Camps were at the forefront in prevention education — teaching campers proper hand washing techniques and appropriate sneeze and cough behaviors. In addition to illness prevention, camps work to educate campers about the importance of using the correct safety gear and how simple precautions, such as appropriate footwear, can prevent injury during activities.
- Support and Encouragement — Encouragement is key to success in making healthy choices. Camp is a community specifically designed to help each participant feel confident, successful, and part of a team. It may be hard to make healthy choices at first, but by developing authentic relationships with caring adults and fellow campers, children and youth are building a support network like no other. And research indicates that this network doesn’t end when camp is over! According to ACA research, almost 70 percent of parents reported that their children kept in touch with camp friends after returning home.
For more health and safety tips and information, families can visit www.CampParents.org, ACA’s family resource site. Families can search ACA’s Find A Camp database, which allows families to look for a camp based on region, activity, cultural focus, budget, session length, and much more! In addition, families can follow ACA on Facebook and Twitter for helpful hints and camp information.
Contact Public Relations at 765.349.3317 or pr@ACAcamps.org to interview an ACA spokesperson or for more information about how camp encourages healthy behaviors. For customizable public service announcements or article reprints, visit our Media Center at www.ACAcamps.org/media_center/.
The American Camp Association® (ACA) works to preserve, promote, and enhance the camp experience for children and adults. ACA-Accredited® camp programs ensure that children are provided with a diversity of educational and developmentally challenging learning opportunities. There are over 2,400 ACA-accredited camps that meet up to 300 health and safety standards. For more information, visit www.ACAcamps.org.